1998 Restoration & 2010 Addition
Originally designed by Philadelphia architect Thomas Ustick Walter in 1848, Freemason Street Baptist Church is an important historic landmark in Downtown Norfolk. The Gothic Revival-style structure is one of a few remaining buildings designed by Walter left in Norfolk, and it is a rare example of his work in this style. Over the years, the elements had taken their toll on the building. The stucco was failing, the windows were in disrepair, wood carvings were either lost or deteriorated, pigeons had infested the belfry, and metal ornamentation was rusted or missing from the pinnacles. In 1997, Hanbury was retained to provide restoration design services to reconstruct the front facade.
Working under a compressed design and construction schedule, the architects worked closely with the building committee, the Department of Historic Resources, and the general contractor to devise appropriate solutions and obtain experienced craftspeople. Restoration of the stucco was one of the most challenging aspects of the project both in finding the right material and finding plasterers to do the work. Historical research returned the original colors to the building. Local artisans carved replacement wood ornaments for the door surround and the rose window. The steeple was re-clad in lead-coated copper; the pinnacles were custom fabricated; and all sanctuary windows were restored.
In 2005, Hanbury was hired to design interior renovations to the sanctuary and an addition to the church for administrative offices and a Sunday School. The addition is sympathetic to the original building in terms of materials, and respects the location and scale of the original sanctuary. It also draws its character from the Perpendicular Gothic Revival style with the use of buttresses, arched windows, and steeply pitched roofs.